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Dow, S&P 500 open third quarter with fresh records

Wall Street stocks barrelled higher to new records, opening the third quarter with big gains following strong US auto sales and Chinese manufacturing data.

NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks on Tuesday barrelled higher to new records, opening the third quarter with big gains following strong US auto sales and Chinese manufacturing data.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 129.47 points (0.77 per cent) to 16,956.07, while the S&P 500 shot up 13.09 (0.67 per cent) to 1,973.32. Both were record closing highs.

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index bolted 50.47 (1.14 per cent) higher to 4,458.65.

Analysts said the market was spurred by data that showed Chinese manufacturing activity expanded in June at the fastest pace of the year and a surprisingly strong batch of US auto sales.

The auto industry sold 1.42 million vehicles in June in the US, well above the Edmunds.com projection of 1.36 million.

"The market has some pent-up demand" after trading sideways for the last week or so, said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities.

Other US economic data was mixed. The Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing purchasing managers index dipped 0.1 point to 55.3 in June, a disappointment next to a forecasted gain of 0.4 point, but well above the 50 reading that separates growth from contraction.

The Commerce Department reported US construction spending in May increased a less than expected 0.1 per cent.

General Motors surged 3.6 per cent after June auto sales rose one per cent from a year ago, the latest indication consumers are not punishing the company over an ignition recall scandal.

Rival Ford Motor slipped 0.2 per cent after June sales declined six per cent from a year ago, even as they beat the projection by Edmunds.com.

Dow component IBM shot up 2.8 per cent. Motley Fool attributed the rise to a report by consultancy Gartner that rated IBM ahead of other technology companies on data security.

Microblogging company Twitter picked up 2.6 per cent after it replaced its chief financial officer with former Goldman Sachs banker Anthony Noto.

Video-streaming company Netflix jumped 7.4 per cent on an upgrade from Goldman Sachs.

Other technology companies also gained, including Priceline (+3.6 per cent), Amazon (+2.3 per cent) and GoPro (+20.4 per cent), a video camera maker that went public last week.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury increased to 2.56 per cent from 2.52 per cent Monday, while the 30-year advanced to 3.39 per cent from 3.34 per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.

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